Skip to main content
7:00 pm
loophole the feds are using would have no standing. they couldn't bust the shops selling marijuana. finally the government has admitted medical marijuana does have benefits. now can we stop this madness? it's been nearly 75 years on this war on drugs. it's not working. thank you for watching. that's our show. "hardball" starts right now. the president speaks. let's play "hardball." . good evening, i'm chuck todd in today for chris matthews who's an assignment in israel. leading off, making the sale. half an hour from now, the president will make one of his last best chances to explain to
7:01 pm
the country why we're fighting in libya, what's the end game, how do we get out? the role the u.s. will play from here on out and how important is it that gadhafi goes. and how did we wind up fighting in a country that even the country's own defense secretary on sunday said is not a vital u.s. interest. tonight, we'll look at what the president needs to say and the big stakes for him politically in lya if the effort for him goes bad. then we'll bring the president's speech live from the national war college here inform washington, d.c. let's begin with andrea mitch l mitchell. and of course, the huffington post's howard fineman who is an msnbc political analyst. what must the president say?
7:02 pm
here's a couple of clips. >> when someone like gadhafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region and when the international community is prepared to come together to save many thousands of lives, then it's in our national interest to act. >> that was the radio address on saturday. here's what he said in south america last week about why we're there. >> our military action is in support of an international mandate from the security council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by colonel gadhafi to his people. now, i also have stated that it is u.s. policy that gadhafi needs to go. and we've got a wide range of tools in addition to our military efforts to support that policy.
7:03 pm
>> what does he need to say tonight? >> he hasn't addressed the american people and done it in a sort of logical way to explain why the it's in the u.s. interest, and particularly with secretary gates saying it's not a vital interest of the united states. how does this differ? i don't think he's going to address this tonight. i think he wants to be deliberately ambiguous about this. but why is this in the united states interest to protect civilians, the humanitarian mission and not what's happening in syria, to protesters. why it's not in our interest to protect the protesters in yemen or in bahrain. so that case has not been made. and i don't think he's going to be able to make that case tonight. 506. >> what is it he's got to say to the american public on this issue? >> in the gallup poll only 38%
7:04 pm
of independent voters support military involvement in libya. that's an amazing low number. there hasn't been anything like nit the last 30 years. that's who he's addressing. what he has so to say is this is going to be short, sharp and focused. we're in there to try to keep order every, prevent chaos, to topple ka das fi if we can. not be involved in a civil war and get out. no ground troops, et cetera. he's got to address those independent voters and assure them that this is not some sweeping new doctrine. he's going to avoid the doctrine talk, i think. and this isn't aweing tng iss surgical thing. that's the case he's got to make tonight. >> what howard brings up. it's not going to be a big policy speech in the middle east, this wave of revolution that's taking place. but there will be a little bit of valedictory about what to accomplish on the u.s. mission.
7:05 pm
he's going to speak for 20 minutes. >> first offal awe, they can point to pride the fact that they have an international coalition. that's what won them the u.n. resolution. in fact, nato did sign on to the expanded civilian protection mission yesterday. so now the nato print of, you know, the impremetor of nato is on this. but nato is us. we are nato. and the fact that more of the missions have been carried out in the last 24, 48 hours by coalition forces than american forces. it was front loaded. those are all good talks points for the president, but we're still in there. and as any foreign policy expert would tell you, we own it. this is the pottery barn analogy of colin powell. >> howard fineman, speaking of owning, at this point, does the president own gadhafi's future? and what i mean by this, is he now almost invested in gadhafi going? >> i think he definitely is.
7:06 pm
>> absolutely. >> but there's no easy choices here as andrea knows better than i. if gadhafi goes, it's almost a more complicated choice than if he stays. the american people will not be involved in a ground war or a civil war among people that we don't really know and with sides we can't really be that sure of. >> it's a tough situation having gotten involved, getting out is not going to be easy, but that's the case he has to make tonight. >> howard, you're providing a great segue. andrea had this interview with the former director of the cia on this issue of what happens after gadhafi in libya. let's take a listen. >> let's assume that he leaves. and i think that's the only way we get to phase two is if he leaves. now t iict rt es the destruction of all elements of civil society and try to construct a meaningful government out of that?
7:07 pm
we take an operational and ethical responsibility for the final outcome here that wasn't ours two weeks ago. >> that sounds like he's saying the united states is responsible for some sport form of nation building. >> when the president tries to make an argument, this is short, this is sweet, we're in, we're out. the bottom line is we have taken sides in a civil war. they were losing and now they're not losing. now the rebels are winning. and that is only because of the air cover and the actual attacks on the ground. this is going to attack tafrk formations. what's happening tomorrow in london with this nato meeting. there's some libyan opposition groups that are going to be represented there. what is the point of this conference going forward? >> i think the point of the conference is going to be to talk about the next step. you're going to have, as you had a conference call today.
7:08 pm
president obama, sarkozy from sans and cameron from the uk, this is the alliance together. also meeting with the head of thf political arm of the opposition of the rebels, to try to say there is something to turn to. we are just going to have a vacuum after gadhafi. >> and howard fineman, i want to ask you about the setting tonight. it's 7:30 not 8:00. it's not quite prime time. it's not the oval office. it's the national defense university. what's the subtle message the white house is trying to send back. they're sort of one step in here. >> this is supposed to 234not b prime time war. that's the message. i think barack obama, the president can only hope that's the case. the american people are probably out there thinking, you know, wait a minute, this all kind of sounds familiar to us. america takes the lead, then
7:09 pm
there's nato coalition, then nation building. i mean, this is sounding like to a lot of american people obviously, judging from the polls a little bit like iraq and afghanist afghanistan. the american people skeptical saying wait a minute, this sounds like what we've seen before, even if you're not speaking from the oval office. >> andrea, the white house will say yay, we know about iraq and afghanistan, but we want you to say this sounds like bosnia, kosovo and the interventions done in the late 1990s. they believe that is a successful model. fact check them on this. >> sthe fact is it took a long time and there were massacres that preceded president clinton finally -- >> took him years to get to that point. >> years and years. they do not want this be. ifhey were tdo thi prime time at 8:00, they wouldbe
7:10 pm
bumping the show about george herbert walker bush and volunteerism. that wouldn't be nice. >> on answering the question about this idea of why is libya in the national interest. let's take a listen. it's from "meet the press." >> no, i don't think so it's a vital interest to the united states. but we clearly have interest there, and it's a part of the region, which is a vital interest to the united states. >> a lot of people will hear that and say that's quite striking. we're committing military resources to it. >> then it wouldn't be fair as to what bob just said. did libya attack us? no, they did not attack us. but what they were doing and gadhafi's history and the potential for the disruption was very much in our interest as bob said and seen by our european friends and air partners as very vital to their interests. >> there's a lot of nuance here,
7:11 pm
howard. you have the fact that both tunisia and egypt are fragile right now. that is something the president himself cited. you heard hillary clinton talk about this is of big interest too you're. all of these nuanced arguments, can the president do nuance tonight with the american public? or is he going to have to create these phony black and whites a pegt pekts to the war because it's easier to sell? >> first of all, i wish i had been able to be in the green room afterwards where, you know, secretary gates dropped the bomb saying it's not in our vital interest and hillary immediately came in there and tried to clean it uh. hi can't be complicated about this. he just can't.
7:12 pm
the americans need to be assured this isn't going to be a long time. they're ambivalent about rearranging the map of the nies in some way. the crescent from morocco to iran, are we going to say we're going to survey everything, syria. >> that didn't work out well for the brits when they tried to do it. >> exactly. that's sort of what's behind all this. i don't think the president dare wander into something that deep tonight. >> all right, i've got tot leave it there. this is going to be a fascinating speech to watch. and who knows, every week is a month it seems these days in the -- in world history. all right, coming up, libya in 2012. does failure in libya hurt president obama more than success in libya helps him? political stakes for the president tonight and beyond. you're watching a special edition of "hardball" as we await a presidential address on libya coming up at the bottom of the hour.
7:13 pm
how are you getting to a happier place? running there? dancing there? how about eating soup to get there? campbell's soups fill you with good nutrition, farm-grown ingredients, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. we're with you when you're saving for your dreams. [ woman ] when you want a bank that travels with you. with you when you're ready for the next move. [ male announcer ] now that wells fargo and wachovia have come together, what's in it for you? unprecedented strength, the stability of the leading community bank in the nation and with 12,000 atms and thousands of branches, we're with you in more ways and places than ever before. with you when you want the most from your bank. [ male announcer ] wells fargo. together we'll go far.
7:14 pm
what's all this? big news! we have another way to help you save. oh, really? how? by bundling. if you get your homeowners and auto insurance together, we give you even more savings. ooh! big bundle. [ chuckling ] home and auto together. it's like peanut butter and jelly. oh, or like burgers and fries. or pickles and ice cream. unicorns and glitter! no? bundling to save you more. now, that's progressive! call or click today.
7:15 pm
7:16 pm
>> welcome back. the president is set to speak to the nation about libya at the bottom of the hour. his decision to intervene there has created a whole new set of political risks. will failure in libya cost him more politically than victory would help him? i spoke to katrina vanden heuvel and pat buchanan. katrina, what do you need to hear from the fot night about libya that you have not heard from him over the last two weeks? >> a plausible exit strategy. i think going to the security council to the united nations and getting a mandate to protect civilians was a worthy step. but we are now in many ways engaged in a civil war. if this is going to be a fro
7:17 pm
tracted long civil war intervention, i think it's going to be very costly to this country, to the president and to this role in the region. i think the president needs to lay out very clearly moving forward what our priorities are. and i believe in a america which now may be involved in two quagmires. one in afghanistan and one in libya, needs to find a way out. we are a country that needs nation building at home. and a way out of what the president has said is a time limited action. >> right. well, pat, i want to put up some interesting poll numbers here about where the public is on these interventions. if you look at this, it was true right after 9/11. but only 47% approval in the gallup poll. only 32% disapproved this action. it goes what to katrina said about nation building at home.
7:18 pm
democrats approved of it, majority of republicans approved of this, but it was independents in the middle, a plurality disapproved of this. do you think this has to do with the bad economy? that it doesn't help making people think what are we doing in libya when we've got problems here at home? '. >> in afghanistan and iraq, both approval rating were up about 90% and then it faded. this is obama's war and he has to win it. if he leaves with gadhafi in power, this will be another lockerbie. i think if he wins this war, his polls will go up. but he has a heldish problem as katrina pointed oit. these rebels didn't win this war, the americans are winning the thing for it. they can't run the country.
7:19 pm
who comes in. the ottman turks were in there for centuries. you can't have the italians. americans can't do it. you're going to have british and french. we've got a terrible problem on our hands because you're going to need people in there to run that place, chuck after, quite frankly, we win that war and there is no substitute for victory now. >> but the u.s. cannot occupy. the united states cannot occupy libya. >> so who does? nobody is arguing that. you could have british, french, arab league. but here's what obama could say. he has the opportunity to find a way out of libya and to seize the arab democratic awakening, to realign this country's foreign policy, which has been based on atok atocracies and la a new path forward. our support for those regions
7:20 pm
has bred terrorism. and he could say we need to find a way at a time of massive budget deficits and bloated pentagon budgets, find a way to realign our politics and foreign policy based on diplomatic, political and economic issues which will be central to the rebirth of this region. >> you know, katrina, bush 2 as brotherhood. you really want elections in saudi arabia? >> i believe in the power of democracy from below, not through bullets and not the way george w. brought it to iraq. >> he's running the country with interests. our presence there has bred more instability and terrorism.
7:21 pm
we have the ability to realign our positions that are more representative of the region, pat. >> at this point is the u.s. forced to stick with this until they've gotten gadhafi from power. i would define success again as a new role for america in a world in which it has been the ally of the most autocratic governments. but i think president obama tonight will lay out a strategy and it has to be an end game. this country has no stomach for more foreign occupations, quagmires and the cost of that, both in terms of our treasure of men and women and our treasury. >> pat, i know that you're a, what i would say is a principled
7:22 pm
isolationist in some cases, if i may throw that have tag on you when it comes to foreign interventions. but let me ask you this -- if british -- if the brits and the french are asking us to do this, which ept is what has happened, could the u.s. have ever said no to the british and french. >> we could bring in the armies -- if that army can't do anything, 450,000 troops, what good is it in? let me just say this, i'm against these interventions. i think it was a mistake. but once in, in for a dime, in for a dollar. you can't walk away from a fight you started or got into. you've got to finish and end it. it will probably take british and french and the arab league. they should provide the troops to police this place. >> the arab league supported it.
7:23 pm
they then said they thought the security council meant they had been violated and abused. but they supported it which was is one of the reasons the obama administration, unlike george w. and the calls from mccain and even senator kerry, this were calling for unilateral intervention. >> you don't want to see nation building there. you want to see it here at home. >> i do. but isn't the united states now committed to some form of nation building in libya if it succeeds in driving gadhafi from power, but there's nothing to fill in -- >> chuck, the most important nation building the united states can do in the middle east is reset its economic relationship with that country. part of the uprising we have seen has to do with the despair of millions of young people without jobs. we've got problems here at home. this is a global problem. >> we can't walk away when you smash the country up. quite frankly, with we have an obligation to help rebuild it.
7:24 pm
they're going to have to rebuild that country and there's going to be an occupation. >> that was my conversation with katrina vanden heuvel and pat buchanan. president obama set to address the nation on the mission in libya coming up at the bottom of the hour in just a few minutes. we're going to be back on this special editioof "hardball" right after is. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis,
7:25 pm
staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. and celebrex is not a narcotic. when it comes to relieving your arthritis pain, you and your doctor need to balance the benefits with the risks. all prescription nsaids, like celebrex, ibuprofen, naproxen, and meloxicam have the same cardiovascular warning. they all may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. this chance incrse if youave hesee or facrs casigh bresu when ds are tenrse if yor ng peree caschancef sei killergiretis cas bding ad s ich c our wut warng day causeth. tslstangin d derly
7:26 pm
do not take celebrex if you've had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergies to aspirin, nsaids or sulfonamides. get help right away if you have swelling of the face or throat, or trouble breathing. tell your doctor your medical history and find an arthritis treatment for you. visit and ask your doctor about celebrex. for a body in motion. s it hit helps the lhe of companipanies like the she smallestt ofof th ththat lets yos your employeloy, pa and custcustomersvate and sharee so you can can unleash tsh the of your mor your peopleople.
7:27 pm
>> welcome back to this special edition of "hardball." we're about five minutes away from president obama's address on libya coming up in just a few moments. let's bring in nbc news white house correspondent savannah guthrie. she is at the national defense university. and savannah, what is the president going to lay out tonight? and what is he not going to talk about tonight in the. >> well, it appears the president really wants to try to make the most compelling case he
7:28 pm
can for the action that the u.s. military has taken. he'll want to emphasize this is a matter now being transitioned to nato. the president all along, as you know, has emphasized the limited nation in this action, limited in duration but also in scope. and he will attempt to oons san some of these critics who say we shouldn't b be involved in is many conflicts throughout the world but ore others who said hs too late to act. >> my question is, how much of this speech is going to be libya and how much is going to be about what is going on in the middle east? it seems to me, the hint wes eve gotten, we're not going to see a broad new policy position from
7:29 pm
the united states when it comes to dealing with the middle east. >> i think that's right. except the president will talk about multilateralism, the sense that the united states shouldn't act alone. but i think this speech will be predominantly about libya, chuck. >> addressing critics in congress or trying to get away from the filter that has been congress and us in the media? >> you know, i don't think there will be a lot of discussion about congress per say. obviously the administration feel they sufficiently briefed them but some say they should have been briefed more fully. i think the president will talk a little bit about that. and one other note i would make, chuck, is that aides to the president really feel that this is kind of a turning point in this crisis.
7:30 pm
they sort of want to reset, they want to explain to the american people the action the president took so far, the president will trumpet what the administration considers to be a success story so far in the sense that it's a terrible humanitarian crisis they say has been prevented. but they also want a signal that the president is ramping down the u.s. involvement in libya and will be turning his attention to domestic matters, domestic priorities like jobs and the economy. >> and you seem to hint that was the reason why we're hearing from him today and not ten days ago when this mission started? >> i think that's right. i think they want to say look, this is a turning point and they want to point to the progress that has been made. the president will try to tell the story of where we were six weeks ago, and where ww. whe usai lgn be of a concern.
7:31 pm
all along the strategy was to have the u.s. very heavily involved in the outset. the president was hoping to come before the american people. it's coming to a close in terms of the most significant u.s. involvement. >> all right, savannah guthrie, my colleague and partner, both on msnbc and at the booth. i will let you take your seat. we're expecting to see the president walk out any minute now. this is a speech that is designed to make the case about libya. we expect the president will talk about the action, why it is necessary and why it is in the national interest. and of course, that decision got ratcheted up a little bit. since both his defense secretary and secretary of state appeared to disagree on this issue of how much to intervene.
7:32 pm
here's the president. tonight, i would like to update the american people on the international effort that we have led in libya. what we have done, what we plan to do and why this matters to us. i want to begin by paying tribute to our men and women in uniform. who once again have acted with courage, professionalism and patriotism. we have moved with incredible speed and strength. a coalition has been forged and countless lives have been saved. meanwhile as we speak, our troops are supporting our ally japan, leaving iraq to its people, stopping the taliban's momentum in afghanistan, and
7:33 pm
going after al qaeda all across the globe. as commander-in-chief, i am grateful to our soldiers, sai r sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen and to their families. and i know all americans share in that sentiment. for gene h anchor of global security and as an advocate of human freedom. mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world's many challenges. but when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. that's what's happened in libya over the course of these last six weeks. libya sits directly between tunisia and egypt.
7:34 pm
two nations that inspired the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destiny. for more than four decades, the libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant, moammar gadhafi. he has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world, including americans who were killed by libyan agents. last month, gadhafi's grip of fear appeared to give way to the promise of freedom and cities and towns across the country, libyans took to the streets to claim their basic human rights. as one libyan said, for the first time, we finally have hope that our nightmare of 40 years will soon be over.
7:35 pm
faced with this opposition, gadhafi began attacking his people. as president, my immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our embassy and all americans who sought our assistance. in a matter of days, we froze more than $33 billion of gadhafi regime's assets. joining other nations at the united nations security council, we broadened our sanctions. imposed an arms bearing and enabled gadhafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes. i made it clear that gadhafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimate city to lead. and i said that he needed to step down from power. in the face of the world's condemnation, gadhafi chose to
7:36 pm
escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the libyan people. innocent people were targeted for killing. hospitals and ambulances were attacked. journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted and killed. supplies of food and fuel were choked off. water for hundreds of thousands of people in misrata was shut off. cities and towns were shelled, mosques were destroyed and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. military jets and helicopters gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assaults from the air. confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, i ordered warships in the mediterranean. european allies committed
7:37 pm
resource nord to stop the killing. the libyan opposition and the arab league appealed to the world to save lives in libya. and so at my direction, america led an effort with our allies at the united nations security council to pass an historic resolution that authorized a no-fly zone to stop the regime's attacks from the air and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the libyan people. having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered gadhafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing or face the consequences. rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance. bearing down on the city of benghazi, home top nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear.
7:38 pm
at this point, the united states and the world faced a choice. gadhafi declared he would show no mercy to his own people. he threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. in the past, we had seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over 1,000 people in a single day. now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. we knew that if we wanted -- if we waited one m charlotte could suffer a nasa kerr that would have reverberate across the region and stained the conscious of the world. it was not in our national interest to let that happen. i refused to let that happen.
7:39 pm
and so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of congress, i authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce u.n. security council resolution 1973. we struck regime forces approaching benghazi to save that city and the people within it. we hit gadhafi's troops and neighboring addijaya. we cut off much of their source of supply. and tonight, i can report we headed off gadhafi's deadly advance. in this effort, the united states has not acted alone. instead, we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition.
7:40 pm
this includes our closest allies, nations like the united kingdom, france, canada, denmark, norway. italy, spain, greece, and turkey. all of whom have fought by our sides for decades. and it includes arab partners like qatar and the united arab emirates who have chosen to live up to their responsibilities to defend the libyan people. to summarize them, in just one month, the united states has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure and international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a no-fly zone with our allies. to lend perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic mission came together, when people were being
7:41 pm
brutalized in bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians. it took us 31 days. moreover, we have accomplished these objectives consistent with a pledge i made to the american people at the outset of our military operations. i said that america's role would be limited and that we would not put ground troops into libya. we would focus our unique capabilities on the front end of the operation, and that we would transfer responsibility to our allies and partners. tonight, we are fulfilling that pledge. our most effective alliance, nato, has taken command of the enforcement of the arms bearing and the no-fly zone. last night nato decided to take on the additional responsibility of protecting libyan civilians.
7:42 pm
this transfer from the united states to nato will take place on wednesday. going forward, the lead in enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners and i am fully confident that our coalition will keep the prosecute es sure on gadhafi's remaining forces. in that effort, the united states will play a supporting role, including intelligence, logistical support, search and rescue assistance and capabilities to jam regime communications. because of this transition to a broader nato-based coalition, the risk and costs of this operation to our military and to american taxpayers will be reduced significantly. so for those who doubted our capacity to carry out this operation, i want to be clear -- the united states of america has
7:43 pm
done what we said we would do. that's not to say that our work is complete. in addition to our nato responsibilities, we will work with the international community to provide assistance to the people of libya, who need food for the hungry and medical care for the wounded. we will safeguard more than $33 billion who was frozen from the gadhafi regime. that money doesn't belong to gadhafi or to us. it belongs to the libyan people and we'll make sure they receive it. tomorrow, secretary clinton will go to london and consult with more than 30 nations. these discussions will focus on what kind of political help is needed in order to transition to
7:44 pm
the to what the libyan people deserve. though the military mission is on saving lives, we continue to pursue the broader goal of a libya that belongs, not to a dictator, but to its people. despite our efforts, i know some americans continue to have questions about libya. gadhafi hasn't stepped down from power and until he does, libya will remain dangerous. moreover, even after gadhafi does leaf power, 40 years of tyranny has left libya fractured and without strong civil institutions. the transition to a legitimate government that's responsive to the libyan people will be a difficult task. and while the united states will do our part to help, it will be a task for the international community. and more importantly, a task for the libyan people themselves.
7:45 pm
in fact, much of the debate in washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to libya. on the one hand, some question why america should intervene at all. they've faced brutal violence at the hands of their government and america should not be expected to police the world, particularly when we have so many pressing needs here at home. it's true that america cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. and given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interest against the need for action. that cannot be an argument forever acting on behalf of the argument of what is right. in this particular country, libya, at this particular
7:46 pm
moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. we had a need to stop that violence, an international mandate for action, a broad coalition to join us and a plea of help from the libyan people themselves. we also had the ability to stop gadhafi's forces in their tracks without putting american troops on the ground. to brush aside america's responsibility as a leader and more profoundly, our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. the united states of america is different, and as president, i refuse to wait for the images of
7:47 pm
slaughter and mass graves before taking action. mov moreover, america has a strategic interest. a massacre would have sent thousands of refugees across libya's borders, putting straps on the peaceful yet fragile transitions in egypt and tunisia. the democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship as they determine that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. the writ of the united nations security council would have been shown to be a little more than empty words. crippling 245 institution's future credibility to uphold global peace and security. so while i will never minimize the costs involved in military
7:48 pm
action, i am convinced that a failure to act in libya would have carried a far greater price for america. now just as there are those who have argued against intervention in libya, there are others who have suggested that we broaden our military mission beyond the task of protecting the libyan people and do whatever it takes to bring down gadhafi and usher in a new government. of course, there is no question that libya and the world would be better wauf gadhafi out of power. i along with many other world leaders have embraced that goal. and will actively pursue it through nonmilitary means. but broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake. the task that i have asienled
7:49 pm
o -- assigned our forces to protect the libyan people and to establish a no-fly zone carries with it a u.n. mandate and international support. it's also what the libyan opposition asked us to do. if we tried to overthrow gadhafi by force, our coalition would splinter. you have to put the troops on the ground to accomplish that mission or risk many civilians from the air. the dangers faced by the men and women in uniform would be far greater. so would the costs. and our share of the responsibility for what comes next. to be blunt, we went down that road in iraq. thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our troops and the determination of our diplomats, we are hopeful about iraq's future. but regime change there took eight years, thousands of american and iraqi lives and
7:50 pm
nearly $1 trillion. that is not something we can afford to repeat in libya. as the bulk of our military effort ratchets down, what we can do and will do is do and will do is support the aspirations of the libyan people. we intervened to stop a massacre, and we will work with our allies and partners to maintain the safety of civilians. we will deny the regime arms, cut off its supplies of cash, assist the opposition, and work with other nations to haven the day when gadhafi leaves power. it may not happen overnight, as a badly weakened gadhafi tries desperately to hang onto power. but it should be clear to those around gadhafi and to every libyan that history is not on
7:51 pm
gadhafi's side. but the time and space we provided with the american people, they will be able to determine their own destiny, and that is how it should be. let me close by addressing what this action says about the use of america's military power and america's broader leadership in the world, under my presidency. as commander in chief, i have no greater responsibility than keeping this country safe. and no decision weighs on me more than when to deploy our men and women in uniform. i've made it clear that i will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies, and our core interests. that's why we're going after al qaeda wherever they seek a foot hold. that is why we continue to fight
7:52 pm
in afghanistan, even as we have ended our combat mission in iraq and removed more than 100,000 troops from that country. there will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and our values are. sometimes the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and our common security. responding to natural disasters, for example, or preventing genocide and keeping the peace. ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce. these may not be america's problems alone, but they are important to us. they're problems worth solving. and in these circumstances, we know that the united states is the world's most powerful nation, will often be called
7:53 pm
upon to help. in such cases, we should not be afraid to act. but the burden of action should not be america's alone. as we have in libya, our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action, because contrary to the claims of some, american leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well, to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs. and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all. that's the kind of leadership we've shown in libya. of course, even when we act as part of a coalition, the risks
7:54 pm
of any military action will be high. those risks were realized when one of our planes malfunctioned over libya. yet when one of our airmen parachuted to the ground in a country whose leader has so often demonized the united states, in a region that has such a difficult history with our country, this american did not find enemies. instead, he was met by people who embraced him. one young libyan that came to his aid said we are your friends. we are so grateful to those men who are protecting the skies. his voice is just one of many in a region where a new generation is refusing to be denied their rights and opportunities any longer. yes, this change will make the world more complicated for a time.
7:55 pm
progress will be uneven and change will come differently to different countries. there are places like egypt where this change will inspire us and raise our hopes. and then there will be places like iran where change is fiercely suppressed. the dark forces of civil conflict and sectarian war will have to be averted, and difficult political and economic concerns will have to be addressed. the united states will not be able to dictate the pace and scope of this change, only the people of the region can do that. but we can make a difference. i believe that this movement of change cannot be turned back and that we must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms.
7:56 pm
our opposition to violence directed at one zone's people, our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders, our support for governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people. born as we are, out of a revolution by those that longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the middle east and north africa, and that young people are leading the way because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the united states. ultimately, it is that faith, those ideals that are the true
7:57 pm
measure of american leadership. my fellow americans, i know that at a time of upheaval overseas, when the news is filled with conflict and change, it can be tempting to turn away from the world. and as i've said before, our strength abroad is anchored in our strength here at home. that must always be our north star, the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources, to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a well spring for our power, and to live the values we hold so dearly. but let us also remember that for generations, we have done the hard work of protecting our own people, as well as millions around the globe. we have done so because we know that our own future is safer. our own future is brighter if
7:58 pm
more of mankind can live with the bright light of dignity and freedom. tonight, let us give thanks for the americans serving through these trying times, and the coalition that is carrying our effort forward. and let us look to the future with confidence and hope, not only for our own country but for all those yearning for freedom around the world. thank you, god bless you, and may god bless the united states of america. [ applause ] >> president obama wrapping up a speak, wrapping it in the american values. a speech that lasted just under 28 minutes. it included laying out everything the united states has done, a little bit of a wrap-up of the successes that have taken place. he also dealt with two hypothetical arguments, one
7:59 pm
about not intervening militarily, saying that would have been against what america stands for, and one about targeting gadhafi militarily, and in that hypothetical he said doing something like that was tried before, and he compared it to iraq and the targeting of saddam hussein. the last part of the speech he did touch on all of the upheaval taking place in the middle east, and again, it was all about laying this out and making the case on libya on the issue of american values. very early on, the framing of the speech was set when he said for generations the united states of america has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and advocate of human freedom. with that, he framed the entire case of all the actions that have taken place, all of the actions that are going to take place, and everything that has taken place throughout the region of the middle east. didn't mention many other countries by name other than tunesia and egypt, and as one of

Hardball With Chris Matthews
MSNBC March 28, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

News/Business. (2011) (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Libya 43, Gadhafi 35, United States 19, America 19, Us 15, Nato 12, U.s. 10, Afghanistan 5, Iraq 4, Obama 4, Chuck 3, The United States 3, U.n. 3, Tunisia 3, Egypt 3, Howard Fineman 3, Campbell 2, United 2, Clinton 2, Pat Buchanan 2
Network MSNBC
Duration 01:00:00
Scanned in Annapolis, MD, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Port 1235
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec mp2
Pixel width 720
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 4/17/2011